Chasing the Bus

We are now back to the time of year when our kids, grandkids, or friends kids go back to school. For me, when this time of year rolls around is when I get asked about a particular story that happened to me three years ago. Sometimes we need a good a laugh and we need to remember to not take ourselves too seriously and with that let me remind so and tell others for the first time – the story of the Pastor who chased the bus.

It was the first day of school and out third month here in Sedley. In the past I have worked at the church where our kids went to school and so that rode with me each day but now they were going to be riding the school bus. Mckayla was older so she walked over by the church and caught the bus without any problems and she would be getting off there. Wendy and I took Luke over there and he caught the bus and the drive said she would drop him off closer to our house – at the corner of Magnolia and First Street. I liked that idea – we did not have to walk as far.

The end of the day came and it was soon time for the bus to drop off Luke. Mckayla had already been dropped off and had gone in the house. Wendy and I standing where the bus driver told us to when we see a bus go flying past the church toward the Sedley Store. I thought it might have been Luke’s bus but was unsure. Wendy and I talked about it for a quick second and I said, “you stay here I will see if that was his bus ”. I began to briskly walk down First Street which turned into a light jog and by Dee and Dave’s Mushroom house I was in a full run. I get to the Sedley Store and as usual there were a group of men there. I asked them about the bus and I did it trying to not seem worried that Luke was on it and I believed did not know where to get off.

As I am talking to the men at the store another school bus comes from toward the Firehouse. It gets to us and Luke is sitting in one of the windows. He smiles at me and waves and I feel a sense of relief until the bus turns down Peachtree! I began to literally run after the bus. The bus stops and the Felt boys get off at their house. I had almost caught up to the bus at this point but then it takes off again. I kept running after the bus but was I was not in very good shape and slowing way down and the bus was way ahead.

At this point a church member pulls up in his truck. He was sitting with the group of men at the Sedley Store watching me run like a crazy man all over Sedley. He says to me “Preacher, can I give you a ride somewhere?” We talked for a second and decided that the bus most likely would circle around and end up at the church and so he brought me to the church. I get out and tell him thank you for the ride at which point the bus goes past me and stops right in front of Wendy. Luke gets off the bus like nothing ever happened. Me on the other hand was sweating profusely and was seriously winded from literally running all over town.

The moral of this story is – this preacher sometimes looks a bit crazy. Also though, if I would have just listened to the bus driver and trusted what she said, it would have saved me a whole lot of embarrassment and a whole lot of literally running around. The same is true for each of us and the Bible, if we would just listen to what the Bible tells us and trust what it is tell us; it will save us a whole lot of embarrassment and running around in life that we could avoid.

Have you ever chased a bus?

Titles

2nd Samuel 23:1 – Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel,

What we see here in this verse is that David shares some of  titles he has in life. He was The son of Jesse: Jesse was a humble farmer and this title shows David’s humble beginning. He was The man raised up on high: David allowed God to raise him up, so he could confidently rest in this title. He was The anointed of the God of Jacob: David was anointed by God, not by himself or merely by man but he had a unique empowering and enabling given from God. He was The sweet psalmist of Israel: David had a beautiful gift of eloquence and expression before God. This title shows of David’s deep inner life with God. These titles all reminded David of who He was; that he was more than just a king, he was a man of humble beginnings, a man raised up by God and set apart by God, and a man who had a deep relationship with God.

I have titles – I am a son, a husband, a father, a pastor, and some would say jokester.  They are all titles that I carry and they remind me of who I am and what God has done for me.  The greatest title I carry though is Son of God.

What are the titles that you have? Do they remind you of who you are? Do they remind you of what God has done for you? What about the title son of God or daughter of God? Are you living up to that title? What title are you living up to today in your life and what titles are you not living up to?

What is the greatest title you have and why do you consider that one the greatest and are you living up to it?

Getting Refreshed

I wrote a post back on the 20th of March about it being a busy season for me in ministry and it has been.  We had a dear lady from the church have an aneurism and stroke and then heart issues which led to her going home to be with the Lord.  Through that time I knew that my calling was to be with the family and encourage and support them – it was an intense time of ministry.  Her funeral was this past Friday and it was an honor to minister at and through her funeral.  Jesus was lifted on high through the funeral and all that happened around it.

I am now at a point  where I am renewing and refreshing in Him.  Monday is my day off – I have not had a whole day in a few weeks and it has worn me down.  Yesterday was a whole day off and it was good.  I did some spring cleaning with my wife,  some  errand running, some just hanging out with my bride, and just soaked in a beautiful day. 

In all this I am reminded of this being Passion Week.  This week as we who are believers in Christ head toward Resurrection Sunday let us soak in the beauty of what it means.  Let us get refreshed and renewed by our Savior and the beauty of what He did for us on the cross and in the grave and in the resurrection!

I apologize for not being around too much in recent weeks but I am sure you understand it.  I will most likely not be around much this week as I contemplate the meaning of the week and continue to be refilled so I can minister out of the overflow – because that is where we need to minister from.

I will spend some extra time in the Word this week and listen to some music and read some other things to be refreshed and be refilled in the time I would normally spend doing the blogging thing so that I can minister out of the overflow.

What is it that you do to be spiritually refreshed and refilled?

Risking it all (part 1)

Over the next several post we are going to look at risking it all.

A farmer was walking through his pumpkin patch early in the growing season, and while walking near the road that ran by his farm, he found a one-gallon glass jug. He stood looking at the jug for a few moments, and then, for no particularly good reason, he picked up the jug, laid it near a plant and then he poked a small pumpkin into the jug without damaging the vine and then wondered on his way.

Later when the pumpkins were full grown and were being picked and stacked, he came across the jug again, this time completely filled with the pumpkin he’d poked inside. The pumpkin had filled the jug completely, and had stopped growing; it was the size and shape of the jug. It did not break the jug but just grew to the limits that glass provided. The other pumpkins around it had grown to be full and mature but this one pumpkin was the size and shape of the jug and it was stunted.

Now, what we need to understand is in life there are many people who are like the pumpkin in the jug; they only grow to a certain point or in other words they are stunted because they are living their lives in a jug that holds them back. They have allowed themselves to be held to certain limits because of the jug they are living in. They have never grown to their full potential or full maturity.

For us in life – in order to grow to our full potential and to really be mature we will need to take some risks to get out beyond the boundaries of the jug of life. When you do this you will grow to full maturity and reach your full potential. You might think – I am too old for this or too young for this or too set in my ways – but read carefully over these posts because I think God has something in store for you.

We are going to talk about what those boundaries are that keep us in the jug and stunted. We are going to talk about what keeps us from being all God intends us to be. God does not put us in a jug but God wants us out of the jug to grow fully and to maturity. God does not want us to be stunted! Sadly we put ourselves in the jug or allow others to put us there and it is not what God has intended.

In these posts we will look at a woman in the Bible who got tired of living in her jug of life. She got tired of the limits that she had on her. She wanted and desired to be all God intended her to be and she knew she could not be that living in the jug. She got sick and tired of being sick and tired and so then she was willing to do whatever it took to break out of the jug and to have the full life that she knew God intended for her.

Luke 8:43 -48: 43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.45 And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” 47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

This is a story of a woman who got out of the jug by taking a risk of faith. You see every one of us is like this woman. We are all sick and in of healing from the master in some areas of our lives. All of us in one way or another are trapped in a jug and not growing to our full potential. What we need to do is take a risk of faith like this woman did here. We need to take this risk and become all God intends for us to be.

What are Risks? According to Webster – they are the possibility of loss or injury. There are negative risks. These are times that the possibility of loss overshadows any of the benefits that come from taking the chance.  There are also positive risks. These are times that the possibility of loss is overshadowed by the benefits that come from taking the chance.

What are the risks that the woman in the story took? She was ceremonially unclean and could not practice her faith and she would make everyone she touched unclean and they would have to be purified.

  • She risked making crowd unclean – she was unclean because of here issue of blood and touching others even in passing would make them unclean.
  • She risked making Jesus unclean – touching even the hem or fringe of Jesus’s garment would have made Jesus unclean.
  • She risked telling Jesus it was her that touched him and sharing how she was healed– Now the crowd would know that she was unclean and admitting to Jesus that she made him and them unclean.
  • She risked the crowd turning on her – The crowd could have easily turned on her because of making them unclean and they now know that if they touched her they would have to go and be purified.
  • She risked the possibility of getting healed – this is the one risk that would make it worth it all.
    She had four negatives and one positive – but that one positive overshadowed the four negative.  She had a lot to lose but she had more to gain by taking the risk.  She risked it all to be all that God intended her to be.  Something for you to think about which we will discuss in the next post – why do so many avoid taking risks when there are such great rewards?  Let us not live our lives in the jug!

What is the greatest risks that you have taken in you life?

I Stopped Preaching

I had something happen this past Sunday that has not happened in years.  I stopped preaching. In the middle of a sermon – I just stopped preaching.

Let me explain.

I have been preaching/teaching through the life of David on and off for two and a half years.  Normally on Tuesday, I prepare about eight pages of a scripted set of notes.  Eight pages normally fits just right as far as what I want to say and less importantly into the time frame I want to say it.

This past week I had eight pages that I prayed about and I prayed over.  I went over and over the message as I usually do throughout the week.  I hone the message over the course of the week by preaching it out loud and making changes to it along the way.  I do nothing with the message all day Saturday but I do go over it one last time before I go to bed and then on  Sunday I go over it once during the hour before the service.

This week on Saturday night I started getting a gnawing feeling when I was going over it.  I started getting the sense that I should just stop about 4 pages in.  I was covering chapter 17 of 2nd Samuel and specifically verses 15 –29.  I changed things up and was to cover verse 23  first, which has to do with Ahithophel’s suicide, then go back to verse 15 and go to the end of the chapter. The reason I was doing this was because I sensed that the message would flow better starting here and then moving back then going forward in the verses.

My main point on verse 23 had to do with how Ahithophel committed suicide by hanging himself but many of us commit spiritual suicide because we strangle ourselves spiritually by not doing the things we know need to do.  By ignoring the spiritual things in life and not doing what we need to do, we slowly commit spiritual suicide.  As I said, Saturday night I started getting this gnawing feeling and sensing the spirit wanted me to stop at this point but I was unsure.  I wrestled with those thoughts for sometime then went to bed unsure of what I was to do.

Sunday morning before I went to the study at the church to go over the message I was getting the same sense from the Spirit but was still unsure.  When I got to the study,  I went over the whole thing and was still really unsure of what to do.  It was a battle going on inside of me of what the Spirit was leading to do.  The service started and  as we were singing some songs I said things to God like “Lord – if we get to this time and I have not stood to speak then I know that it is a sign that I am to only do verse 23 but if not then I am to do the whole thing”.  I was still struggling with what really the leading of the Spirit was.

I stood up to preach.  In all honesty, I did not do a great job with the message because I was distracted and I stammered though some parts of it.   I preached through verse 23 and then went back and  started reading verses 15 and 16 to preach them and that was the moment it was all clear.  I just needed to stop right then and there.  So  I stopped preaching.  I was in the middle of reading verses and I just stopped and paused.

I looked up and said “The Spirit of God is prompting me to stop right here and right now”.  I wrapped things up and finished up the service with a closing hymn and opened up the altar to those who wished to pray or speak with me about anything which is what happens each Sunday.

Here is the thing – Revival did not break out.  A couple people came up and prayed and comments about the message were at a minimum.  The reality is – that is all just fine.  The thing is – in this case I was obedient to the Spirit and that was the most important thing.  My point is this:  when the Spirit leads – be obedient – we simply need to be obedient.  I see obedience as a real key to life and a key to ministry.  I pray I get better at it.

Sad thing is this – there have been many times where I was not obedient to the Spirit.  Times when I have been prompted to give money and it stayed in my wallet.  Times when I was prompted to say something and I kept quiet.  Times I was prompted to stop preaching in the past and I continued anyway in my own strength and not His.

Lord  – help me be obedient to you and your promptings today.

What is the craziest thing that the has Spirit prompted you to do?  Did you do it?  What were the consequences – good or bad?

The Secret of Joy

What is the real secret to having Joy? Is there a secret?  I believe that there is a real secret to finding Joy and the reason that people do not find it, is because it is hard. We have a tendency to shy away from things that are going to be hard.  The secret of Joy is not as much of a secret as it is a tough thing that people do not want to do. What is this thing?

Forgiveness.  May people struggle with forgiveness and many times they struggle with Joy.  A lack of forgiveness leads to a lack of Joy.

You might wonder what does forgiveness have to do with Joy?  The way of feeling true Joy is by giving and getting forgiveness.  It comes by asking for forgiveness when you need to and by granting it when someone has harmed you,

Are there people in your life who you hold grudges or anger against?  If there are you are called to forgive them and when you do you will find Joy.  Look at what the Bible says about forgiveness:

Mark 11:25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 ["But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions."]

Luke 17: 3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, `I repent,’ forgive him."

2 Corinthians 2:7 Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it.

Do you have anger toward yourself because of things you have done? Have you forgiven yourself?  If you ask God to forgive you of your sins, He does but the question looms – so then why can’t you forgive yourself?  Lack of forgiving yourself is a lack of joy.  Forgive yourself.   Look again at the Word of God.

Psalm 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD

Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Forgiveness is is one of those things people struggle with in their lives.  You may be one of those people who look at others who forgive easily and say how in the world can they forgive like this? You might be like the older brother in story of the prodigal son.

Luke 15:25 "Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 "And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 "And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 "But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 "But he answered and said to his father, `Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 "And he said to him, `Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 `But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’ "

We need to be people who are like the father and when people repent and forgiveness comes we should celebrate. Forgiveness is a joyful thing! When we forgiven and when we are forgiven we should be joyful – forgiveness is a joyful thing!  You will feel a sense of Joy that will come as a result of forgiveness. You need to be someone who forgives easily and do not hold grudges because it will make you a better person. The more easily you forgive the more joy you will be experiencing in your life.

To wrap up this week on Joy remember these things that are all the secret to living a life of Joy:

  • Be a person full of forgiveness.
  • Find Joy in your relationships.
  • Do all to the glory of God.
  • Overcome rather than complain.
  • Choose to be joyful.

Let us be joyful in out lives!

What brings you the most Joy in life?  Which one of these areas in regard to joy that we looked at do you do the best at?

From the heart of…..

Let me say that I am so proud of my wife.  She has grown so much in her faith over the years.  I watch her everyday really pour over the word of God to learn what can and more than that to grow to be more like Jesus.  She is truly a godly woman and something that God has laid on her heart is to reach out to other pastor’s wives. She has started a blog – it is geared toward pastor’s wives but I would say what she has to say is invaluable to all.  Please check out her blog and pass it along to anyone who is in ministry. 

The blog is called From The Heart of a Pastor’s Wife and it can be found here:   http://fromtheheartofapastorswife.wordpress.com

Check it out – Pass it along – Bookmark it – Put it in your RSS feed!

(Sorry for those who RSS feed I blew up – had some issues getting this post up today!)

Evangelism Numbers and Thoughts

I did a message talking about evangelism and started thinking about numbers of people in the world that do not know Christ.  I then read something that kick started me down this path and these numbers have been ringing through my head.

So think about this:

There are about 7 billion people on Earth right now and the average life expectancy is about 70 years.

So if you divide 7 billion by 70 years you get 100 million and that on average would be how many people die in the world each year.

If you divide 100 million by 365 days you get 273,973 which are how many people die in the world each day.

If you divide 273,973 by 24 hours you get 11,416 people die each hour.

If you divide 11,416 by 60 minutes you get 190 people who die every minute.

If you divide 190 by 60 seconds you get approximately 3 people die every second.

Just think – the reality is that 3 people die in this world every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month of every year!

How many of them know Jesus? I am going to be very generous and say about 33 percent of those who die know Jesus. That means for every second that ticks on the clock 2 people go to hell and 1 person goes to heaven.

In the time that it took you to read this about 180 people died and went to hell.

That is the truth and that alone should motivate you to want to “Go” share with people who Jesus is and the difference He makes in life (Matthew 28:19).

If that does not convict your heart – you need to check yourself spiritually!

What keeps you from “going” to others?  When was the last time you shared your faith with anyone?

#500!

This is the 500th post on this site for “On The Brink Of Something Large”!

First thing I want to say is “Thank You” to those who read my ramblings!  Later in the post I mention some specific people – but really thanks to all for reading what I write!

I want to share some stats and info on what has been going on for nearly the last four years here.  Something you might not know is the name of the blog comes from a line in the David Crowder song “Forever and Ever Ect.”  You can check the song out here: Forever and Ever Ect. 

I actually started blogging in 2003 on Xanga then moved on to Voxtroplis somewhere around 2005 and then moved here to WordPress in April of 2008.  On my first two sites I blogged very sporadically and really wrote poor posts but have been pretty consistent in posting through the years here and hopefully I have gotten better with my writing skills.

I started blogging because I wanted someplace to vent what was happening in ministry and just share my feeling about what was going on in ministry and through the years it has morphed into sharing my thoughts on leadership, pastoring, and life in general.  I have written about my thoughts and shared on a variety of things ranging from my family and church and to about what God has done and been doing in my life.  It has been a crazy ride and the best part has been the relationships built and the encouragement I have felt through the friends I have made here.  Again – at the end of the post I talk about those relationships that have been built that I am so thankful for.

You can look below and see my monthly and yearly stats and the daily averages.  Busiest month was this past April and the busiest year was 2011.  At the time I wrote this I have had 18,193 views – that is about 18,000 more than I ever expected – no honestly.  I can  honestly say that numbers have never been what my blogging has been about but it has been about sharing what God is doing and what God has done in my life.  With that – let me in all irony share my numbers through the years:

image

I thought you might be interested in what have been my top 5 posts of all time so  here they are.

My top 5 posts of all time are:

5. Pharisees, Phylacteries, and Tassels

4.   Forgiveness

3.  Not Alone

2.  Online Resources/Tools I Use for Study

1.  Leadership: A Title or Courage (Braveheart)

I would not have thought these would be the top 5 but they are and they all have over 200 views.  They all had low views in the beginning but have built up over time.  If you have never read them – click on them and check them out.

Hey Jim. Saw your link on the Deadly Viper blog (don’t know who you are and perhaps you want it that way) and wondered if you would mind me linking you to my blogroll. Consider reading mine and linking me to yours? Thanks. – This is the first time that Bill (Cycleguy) commented on my blog and it was June 30th 2008.  I want to Thank him because he truly was the first to start reading the not so good stuff I was writing.  Bill has through the years just become more than just a guy who comments but we have become friends!  Bill – Thanks for all the encouragement, prayers, and friendship!

There are several others who have been so encouraging and faithful through the years reading and commenting and  they are all better bloggers than I am. I consider all these men friends and whether they realize it or not they have made a big impact on me.   I would like to thank them personally for their friendship and encouragement! 

A Big Thank You goes out to these lovers of God and great bloggers and friends:

 Michael Perkins  -  Dusty RayburnTony AliceaMoe VivasDustin Valencia – and more recently Dan Black.

There are many others who read and comment and I thank you for doing so!  Now there are those of you who come in and out all stealth – thank you for reading!  I know that there are many of you who read and do not comment – please just give a comment here and there so I know who you are.

Thanks again to all who even took the time to read this rambling post! 

Let me ask you – Why do you write a blog if you write one and why do you read blogs?

My Ministry Advice

In a conversation with someone I shared my best advice when it comes to being effective in ministry and what true ministry is.

My best advice which has taken me years to learn is this:

Be who God created you to be.

Do not compare yourself to others because God created you with a distinct set of skills and abilities.

Be who God created you to be.

Do not try too hard to minister to people but just be who God created you to be as and you will do ministry that touches lives. 

Be who God created you to be.

Build relationships with people and talk with them and you will be ministering richly to them. 

Be who God created you to be.

It is okay to learn from other but remember God made you uniquely you.

Be who God created you to be.

You will not be able to reach everybody but reach those you can.

Be who God created you to be.

You might ask then – What is true ministry?  I would say it is:

Be who God created you to be.

Jesus made you to minister to others.

Be who God created you to be.

This is not settling but it is growing and maturing in Christ.

 Be who God created you to be.

What  are your thoughts on this advice?  What is a piece of ministry advice you want others to know?

Just saying – the next post I post is a HUGE ONE – Be on the lookout for it!